Council Meeting Minutes
January 22, 2008
*** SPECIAL MEETING ***
Meeting called to order at 6:30 pm by Mayor Mary Barber. Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Roll call: Ed Vanek – Absent
Warren Simpson – Absent
Vickie Carroll - Present
Detria Hiles – Present
Ray Robinson - Present
Jo-Ann Hite – Present
Mary Barber – Present
Aaron Reedy – Present
Mary announced that the purpose of this meeting was to interview 3 solicitors who submitted proposals for the position of Village Solicitor. Aaron announced that he contacted Robert Mapes, but Robert said he would rather not do it, unless we really needed him to.
Brian Zets and Corey Columbo were present representing the law firm ofWiles, Boyle, Burkholder and Bringardner. Brian gave a brief history of the firm. He said they are highly experienced in all areas of municipal law and litigation. He feels on of their strengths are that though one person would be named the Village Solicitor, that person has a talented group of people behind the scenes to support him. He feels they are cost-effective due to their experience and knowledge. They constantly keep abreast of municipal law changes. They would give Thurston the benefit of access to information from other entities. Brian spoke highly of their accessibility and responsiveness. He said they are deadline driven and have 24/7 accessibility.
Detria asked if they could bill at a lower rate for work done by a paralegal. Brian said they could do that. Ray asked about employment issues. Brian said they have a lot of background in that, too. Jo-Ann asked if they charged for the time they leave till the time they get to our office and back. Brian said that is an industry standard, but it doesn’t take too long to get here. He doesn’t want that to hinder our decision in choosing their firm.
Mary asked if their firm pro-rated phone calls. Brian said to the 10th of a hour. Detria asked if they had experience with township-level JEDD’s. Brian said yes. Detria asked about Section 208 experience. Brian said they know a lot about handling sewer systems.
Mary asked about annexation. Corey said he’s done one every 2 – 3 months over the last several months, so yes, they are very comfortable with them and knowledgeable in all the latest changes.
Brian said their firm understands the needs of cities and villages, and that the bulk of their clients are villages. He said a member of their team, Jim Hughes is a State Representative. Another member is Michael Close, a former judge. He mentioned Gene Holland who also has a lot of experience in this area.
Brian said they have no conflicts with any of the entities Thurston would be working with. He said their rate schedule is negotiable. Brian and Corey left at 7:15 p.m.
At 7:25 p.m., Roger Weaver came to be interviewed. He said he has not represented other municipalities, but said there is not a municipality that he hasn’t appeared in front of. He feels he can bring to the Village his 20 years of experience, knowledge of various Law Directors, and his strong interest and desire to get into this type of work. He feels he is weak on water issues, but feels he could catch up pretty quickly with his great support staff of 9 people. He said if he doesn’t know, he will find the answer for any issue. He’ll be up front with us as to what he can and cannot do. He said we would be dealing with him; he will not “pass it on.”
Council shared with him some details of the water contract. He said if we needed something tomorrow, or in a week, he’s not our guy. But with a reasonable amount of time, he could get something together.
He stated he had no conflicts with any of the entities Thurston would be working with. He said what sets him apart is his desire to learn this area of law. He also knows how to hire counsel and other experts for special projects. Roger left at 7:55 p.m.
At 7:56 p.m., Jo-Ann made a motion to take recess while waiting on the next applicant. Vickie second. All yea.
At 8:14 p.m., Jo-Ann made a motion to come out of recess because Jon Browning had arrived. Detria second. All yea.
Jon said he is proud to be part of Lithopolis’ success. He realizes that Thurston will need more legal assistance than we’ve had in the past. Detria asked Jon about what he’s helped with at Lithopolis. He said trash contracts, sewer lines, income tax revisions, water rate revisions, investigations into employee issues, and various other items.
Detria asked about his water contract/sewer contract experience. He said contract negotiations are contract negotiations no matter if you’re dealing with water, sewer, police, etc. He said annexations are second nature to him. He’s been working on JEDD’s and TIF’s, even though Lithopolis has hired some specialized counsel in some of those cases.
Detria asked if he had a paralegal rate. He said no, he can do it faster and more efficiently. Aaron asked about responsiveness. Jon gave a couple of examples of quick responses. An answer will be given as soon as possible, normally within 24 hours. Jon said he has helped with some work on the economic development plan for Lithopolis.
Mary asked about prorating time. Jon said he doesn’t like to do it, but he prorates to 1/10th of an hour. He said phone calls are practically free; unless they are 15 – 20 minutes or more. He said he would not charge for travel time to Village unless he was working on the way there. He said he would like to see a two-year commitment and would suggest charging by the hour. That can always be changed later. Jon left at 8:55 p.m.
Council discussed the
applicants. Ray asked if anyone had
checked their background for disciplinary actions or suspensions. No one had.
Council would like to take time to check references and consider the
applicants. They would also like Ed and
Ray made a motion to adjourn. Jo-Ann second. All yea. The time is 9:07 p.m.
Aaron L. Reedy, Clerk